Apple should include a visitor’s center in its new HQ whether it wants one or not

As Apple dreams up details of its new spaceship-shaped headquarters in Cupertino with the  starchitects over at Sir Norman Foster’s shop, big-time fanboy and computer historian David Greelish has a suggestion:

“Hey,” he wrote in his blog, “you know what Apple needs? A visitor’s center, that’s what.”

And with that almost rabid and deep-pocketed passion that true fanboys and gals  have for All Things Apple, Greelish has been hammering away for months now trying to get Apple to include a museum/visitor center in the lobby of the circular, glass-paned icon that will soon go up alongside Interstate 280.

He’s blogged about his endless supply of very cool ideas for the site, which would include some of Apple’s more historical pieces of hardware, as well as  famous advertisements,  trademark logos and maybe even co-founder Steve Jobs’ famous VW bus, wherever that might be these days. And he’s gotten publicity in Forbes and elsewhere.

Greelish has gotten something else for all his hard work:  a big fat “Thanks but no thanks” from Apple.

After emailing his proposal last spring to Apple’s board members and executive team, Greelish  says he received a cold response from Apple’s top marketing guy, Phil Schiller, saying essentially that Apple doesn’t look back, Apple looks forward. A museum in our  lobby just won’t fly.

While an Apple spokeswoman said she had no comment on the story, Greelish sent along this note he says he received from Schiller:

“I don’t think this is a good idea for Apple. We are focused on inventing the future, not celebrating the past.  Others are better at collecting, curating, and displaying historical Items. It is not who we are or who we want to be.”

Still, Greelish has pushed on, launching an online petition to enlist others in his campaign to get Apple to celebrate its fabulous legacy and culture with the people who love it  most.

“This is going to be a very cool building,” he says. “And you know Apple fans  from around the world are going to come here to visit it. So why not build an awesome visitor’s center and give them a place where everyone can celebrate Apple’s past?”




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  • Please consider signing the petition. Hey, it’s not earth shatteringly important, but it could be a good thing, smart move and total win for Apple – their employees, the fans, regular customers and the general public. I think a grassroots campaign of support is what this idea needs in order for Apple to start listening. Here are the key points:

    • First, it’s not a museum! It’s a visitor’s center with a gallery of Apple’s story.

    • The new campus will be an attraction unto itself. Fight the idea, or embrace it. Steve Jobs recognized this, and stated at the Cupertino City Council, “Thank you, I think we do have a shot of building the best office building in the world, and I really do think architecture students will come here to see this. I think it could be that good.”

    • Apple should see it as a strategic and important part of both their public relations and advertising mission. Many Apple customers, or potential customers are not necessarily enthusiasts, but a visit here will change that.

    • Steve Jobs is Apple’s Walt Disney. The company needs to celebrate him directly, and in doing so, celebrate the brand.

    • Steve Jobs now only exists in Apple’s history. A tribute to him will inspire existing and future employees. The founding, growth and evolution of Apple is a story worth telling to everyone.

    • A reason for a great corporate store – the ultimate flagship store, and a taste of Apple’s culture.

    • Apple has the perfect example by way of a key partner, The Walt Disney Company. Though a different kind of company, they know how to be innovative, forward looking, while embracing and celebrating its past, and founders.

    • Victor M

      This is a silly idea. They have a visitor’s center. It’s called the Apple store. They have one on the current campus and anyone can visit it. It doesn’t contain historical items, though: Steve Jobs donated those to Stanford University.

      Citing Steve Jobs as a reason to create a gallery of Apple’s story when he removed similar galleries upon his return to Apple in 1997 is a little disjointed.

    • Luca

      Oh god no. It’s a hideous idea. A Visitors Center gives the suggestion that the campus is open to the public etc. Its not.

      And most Apple fans know and respect so despite what David thinks they won’t be flocking to check it out.

    • seriously

      it is an office, not a theme park. the whole idea is ridiculous. not to mention, a petition? who cares, it is not anybody’s decision but apple’s. what a bunch of self entitled nonsense.

  • Samuel Herschbein

    I can understand why Apple wouldn’t want this: it will become a tourist attraction. Flocks of people coming to headquarters, needing parking, restrooms, refreshments, souvenirs, et al.

    I like the idea, if Apple were to do it I could see this happening at a separate location, close to freeways with plenty of parking, nearby restaurants & hotels, and all the amenities a family needs.

  • Roger Wilco

    I think a visitor center would be great but you may be poisoning the well by even mentioning a museum. Apple is focussed on the future (but they are certainly not going to share any of that with visitors!)

    It seems to me that we should be pushing for an upgraded store (though the one at Infinite Loop is already “special”) and a starting point for self-guided tour of the outside of the building.

  • Robert

    Great idea, would love to see the new space ship on earth. I read Steve’s book and find him a very special person. Sorry I have never got a chance to meet or see him. I feel a lot of people would love to visit new space building, since its part of Job’s life.

    • If Siri sounded like Jessica Alba I’d def. get it. A cermaa and some simple upgrades are great for the newbies. But it’s gonna be hard for most iPhone 4 to make the switch. If they just wait until March to July of 2012 then the iPhone 4S buyers will be kicking themselves in the ass big time. Can’t wait until iPhone 5 comes out. There will be a sleaker design as well. They are working on it as I type this. It’s gonna be so nice. And yes Steve Jobs had everything to do with the iPhone 5 decisions.

  • Matthew Maurice

    Apple should create AppleLand, but they should do it far, far away from Cupertino. How about Redmond?

  • James Whitney

    Yes, Apple should be forced to include a visitor center in their new headquarters. They should also be forced to offer a prosumer tower without a monitor and with user upgradeable video cards. Plus, they should give 20% off coupons for life to anyone who bought a Mac during the Gil Amelio era, because those machines were design disasters and we kept the company afloat with our loyalty.

    They should also give me a pony.

    This is a horrible idea.

  • Anad Masrahi

    Well you have to think from their point of view. if they do include such feature, they need to operate it and maintain it. I.e. cost money they dont need to spend. Your persistence is rather creepy. A company doesn’t have to listen to the public whims when it comes how they operate.

  • Dexter

    I’d be down for a visitor center as described. How exciting. I would definitely make it a vacation destination. I’d even move back out there just to work on it. The history of Apple and all the peripherals is a lesson in how to lead and industry and a new way to “Think Different”.

    GREAT idea! It’s been my own idea since Apple retired Classic OS.

  • Dexter

    Why do you spot a typo just as you hit “Submit” and not the second before?? 🙂

    I’d be down for a visitor center as described. How exciting. I would definitely make it a vacation destination. I’d even move back out there just to work on it. The history of Apple and all the peripherals is a lesson in how to lead an industry and a new way to “Think Different”.

    GREAT idea! It’s been my own idea since Apple retired Classic OS.

  • Steve Webb

    Apple should join the twenty-first century, and put their visitor center in the cloud. I can even suggest the perfect URL:

  • Dexter

    Wow, some militant people out there. I did not see the part about requiring a visitor center. Oh, that’s right there wasn’t. Maybe an Apple pavilion at Disney would be the way to handle it, just as GE, Monsanto, and others have had through the years. If it could be a money-maker, I say go for it. I agree it would be difficult to incorporate into a work campus. Maybe some well-to-do Apple fanatics can get things rolling.

  • Peder_Nielsen

    No comments?
    Well, The big Campus 2 is about to fly now. Without a museum.
    As an Apple (or more precisely Mac) fan, I would love to visit Campus 2 and find some kind of exhibition/visitors centre with both past, present and perhaps a glimpse of the future in the Apple universe.
    Still, Schiller made his and Apples point clear. And I give them right. Apple do not want to be labelled as “historical”, even if they are. And for a good reason. They have a unique reputation of inventions an “thinking different”. That would be somewhat diffused with a museum in their prominent HQ. Other ones may do that better, perhaps even in some kind of conjunction or cooperation with Apple. What about setting aside a part of the old HQ at Infinite Loop?
    Meanwhile, I might open a café with my dozen or so of old Macs on show … 😉